This list of the richest people ever or the most wealthy historical figures is essentially the list of the richest people in the history of mankind since the dawn of civilization (from the time that money was invented) or the richest people ever born (ancient, medieval, and modern). John D. Rockefeller was the richest person of all time, with an estimated net worth of $330 billion.
The scope of the list is world-wide and all civilizations. This list might provide a numerical-benchmark for the measurement of achievements of all humans ever born. At present, there is no such comparable numerical-benchmark other than net-worth. Not only businessmen and politicians but also scientists and even engineers (e.g. Henry Ford) can be included in this list if they satisfy the defined criteria.
The list doesn't significantly change from year to year unless there is a new person who qualifies to be on the list or someone surpasses their previous peak amount. However, this can only really happen to those who are still alive. On occasion, there is an undiscovered billionaire from Ancient times, Middle ages and the Industrial age that wasn’t placed on the list before, or one of the billionaires already on the list has been found to have a higher peak net worth than previously thought. If this is proven, or a new billionaire is found, then the figure or net worth should be placed on the following list.
However, if the country where the member originally lived is now defunct, then the inflated net worth has to be averaged by the world GDP, rather than the country's. Because of this, the world GDP may be higher or lower than the other country's GDP and not tied to the same standard. This is really the only time where a member's net worth can be changed above the standard after he or she dies, thereby raising or lowering their rank on the list (e.g. Nicholas II of Russia).